“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
I’ve had wonderful 2022-23 school year on the road. For the last few years, hitting the road hasn’t been a reality for many in my field. I spent over two years speaking to young people through a computer screen. Because of this, I missed one of the most important things I do in my line of work… interacting with young people, in-person, in real-time. As a travelling professional speaker, I always make sure to spend time with young people after I give a presentation. I do this for a number of reasons.
For one, I genuinely care about these kids. After they’ve listened to me share my struggles, I listen to them share their struggles with me. In these moments, I do my best to encourage youth to overcome whatever obstacle might be in their way.
I could give you countless examples of young people I’ve connected with after giving a presentation at a school, conference, or youth event. Many of these kids approach me after a presentation with tears in their eyes because something I’ve shared has connected with them in some way. I also get countless emails and messages from parents offering my gratitude for the message I instilled in their child. There aren’t enough words to express how important that is to me.
But, I have another reason why I spend some one-on-one face-time with these young people after I deliver a presentation. I do this to set an EXAMPLE. When I deliver a keynote, I discuss the power of influence we all have by simple gestures, acts of kindness, and by just giving an encouraging word to someone. You never know how that encouraging word will affect someone.
So… I live this idea out in real time. I never rush out of a presentation. Rather than spend an hour giving kids my OPINIONS and then leaving... I do my best to share with them, and then set an EXAMPLE.
I think it’s so important that we listen to young people. That’s one of the examples I set. I’m a listener. It’s interesting, as a speaker, you’d think my most important trait is talking! But often, it’s my ability to listen that connects with kids just as strongly. And kids watching me listen to other kids sets a good example. In a world where so many people just want to give their OPINION, over and over, endlessly in a social vacuum… sometimes we need to just stop. And listen.
We all have an opinion. Many like to share theirs constantly on social media. I challenge us to set examples in the world, rather than simply share our opinions. If we do this… we can help right many of the wrongs we have such strong opinions about.
If you’d like me to speak … and listen… to your youth at your school, conference, camp, or event, please reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
Are you an introvert? Perhaps you are and you just don’t know it. This is my experience.
I had no idea I was an introvert until just a few years ago. I read this article and it literally changed my life.
“23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert” by Carolyn Gregoire
I don’t remember how I came across this article. But I do remember how I felt while I was reading it.
The more I read, the more I realized, “Wait a minute… this is me. Every single sign is me!”
I read the first sign - “You find small talk incredibly cumbersome,” and thought … “Yep. I hate small talk. If I’m not talking about something meaningful, I often find the conversation pointless.”
I continued and read “Networking makes you feel like a phony.” I thought, “I feel like this at every ‘business function’ I attend where I’m trying to ‘sell myself’ to people to bring me in to speak at their school, event, or business.”
By the time I finished the list, I realized… my life experience reflects every single one of these signs. Then I realized… wait a minute… I’m introverted! This was a massive realization for me. And a huge surprise. Because I had lived my entire life thinking the opposite. Why? Because that’s what people told me.
I’ve always been a performer. When I played high school sports, I always made a show out of what I did on the football field or basketball court. The larger the crowd the better. Fast forward decades later… and I’m performing in front of thousands of people in a wrestling ring… with millions watching at home on television. And I can’t get enough of it.
I’ve transitioned that love of performing into a speaking business where I get to be on a stage… but also be my authentic self in front of large crowds.
Because of all of these things people have always assumed I’m extroverted. Outgoing. Social. I love performing. I love being front and centre in a crowd. So… I must be extroverted. Nope. Not the case. After reading this article, I realized I’m completely 100% introverted. Which is in line with sign #8 – “Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.”
Why does this matter? Well… I lived most of my life thinking I was extroverted, yet it hindered me in many ways. It hindered me because how I felt never matched how people assumed I felt.
For example, sign #3 – “You often feel alone in a crowd.” I often feel this way. Pair that with sign #16 – “You have a constantly running inner monologue.” Pair those two things and most social situations are exhausting. When I’m at “social functions,” I find myself exhausted afterward. Let me tell you… feeling alone while a constant inner monologue plays in your head can be freakin’ exhausting! Which then leads to sign #10 – “You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.”
I’ve come to learn that I’m not alone. I’ve come to learn that most creative people (actors, musicians, performers) are introverted. But this does not need to be a hinderance for you whatsoever. In fact, this realization should not hinder you in anyway. You can use this knowledge to help you be more successful in your endeavors. This was the case with me.
Once I realized I was an introvert, I realized what I needed to do to recharge. Extroverts recharge in social situations. They want to be around other people and it energizes them. Introverts recharge by being alone. They gain energy by being alone. Once their batteries are recharged, they’re ready to get back out there and tackle the world. This one piece of knowledge helped me immensely. If you’re introverted (but don’t know it) and wondering why you don’t feel recharged being around other people (even the ones you love), it’s disorienting. You might feel guilty that after spending time with loved ones, you’re even more exhausted than you were prior to the get-together!
Once you realize you need some downtime… alone… you can start to be much more productive. Without the guilt.
It can also help in your relationship. If you’re introverted, you’re likely with an extrovert. Sign #11 – “You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.” That’s definitely the case with me. Simply realizing this has helped my relationship immensely. Before, my extroverted wife took offense to me needing to be alone rather than getting together with extended family for long lengths of time. And I resented her expecting me to relax and feel refreshed by these get-togethers. Once she learned that I felt exhausted by these things (and I realized that she needed these things herself to feel recharged) we came to a greater understanding of another and our individual needs. This led to a much more harmonious and successful relationship.
I’ve often been accused of being very “intense.” That can intimidate people. I’ve come to realize that that isn’t a personal flaw. That’s simply sign #5 of being an introvert! That intensity has led to numerous successes in my life. So, I no longer supress that intensity. I accept it and relish in it. And use it to push me forward in so many ways that lead to success in my career.
Lastly, I’ve used this knowledge to succeed in my business because I’ve honed in on another skill I have as an introvert… sign #20 – “You look at the big picture.” There’s been numerous points in my life and career, where I’ve had the ability to zoom out of the situation and see a situation for what it is… in the big picture. Some people can’t see the forest for the trees. I’ve always looked at a situation from a larger perspective, which many people I work with greatly appreciate. On the flip side, I realize that I often can miss details because of my way of thinking. Therefore, when I’m working with a team… I always want someone who looks at the smaller, fine details. They’ll catch things I miss while I’m busy looking at the “big picture.” This has helped me greatly in filling in the gaps as I move forward in my goals.
In the end, I hope all this information helps you in some way. If you’re introverted, and never knew it, I hope this information has been as eye-opening for you as it has been for me. You can now use this information to start making decisions with a better understanding of yourself so you can set yourself up for success.
On the other hand, if you’re extroverted, hopefully this information helps you better understand the introvert in your life. (It might even be your spouse!) And with this information you can come to a deeper understanding of the introvert you might work with or be in a relationship with and it can lead to even greater and more positive experiences in the future.
Are you introverted and never knew it? I hope this newfound knowledge will be used as a tool for success in numerous ways in your life moving forward. Onward and upward.
For all the latest news on Chris' travels, follow him on his social media: